Saturday, May 14, 2011

The joys of walking everywhere

In the last few days, I've been trying to make sure that I take advantage of free or cheap things to do, to make the most of my time here. There's an element of making up for what I couldn't do this past year at Clemson because of my distance from campus. I always felt that I was having to pass up concerts, get-togethers, sporting events, etc. because I just couldn't stay any longer, or didn't want to cough up the time and gas money every time something happened. Anyway, since I have a bus pass here in Sheffield, and the university seems to always have things going on, I am making an effort.

So besides the neighborhood pubs, the three of us went to a great concert Thursday night held at the university. It was British folk, and the guy was really, really good (Chris Wood). Afterwards, we waited close to an hour for the 'every 10 minutes' bus, and then of course, had the half mile straight uphill walk from the bus stop to our house. Friday we walked down the hill and rode downtown to take in what the city has to offer. We walked to the Weston Park museum, which is about Sheffield history. Then while Ryan and Tabitha did whatever, I went and got my hair cut and colored. Yes, in a strange city I played roulette with my hair. The folks at Wigs & Warpaint did a great job, although because of the crummy exchange rate, it cost a bit more than it would have at home. Met up with them at a coffee shop and walked over to the art museum, which, truth be told, is slim on anything remotely 'must-see'. But we managed to make it fun. Next stop was walking down Ecclesall Road, where folks had said there were nice shops, pubs, etc. So we walked down the road, stopping only at the tattoo parlor, and for me to sample some tiramisu. Then we kept walking what seemed like forever, until we got back home.

I turned around Friday night and went back to campus for a movie. Which, although it was good enough, was about a marriage that was splitting up. So once again, things were a little too close to home. So I thought, very unwisely, I'll just walk downtown and people-watch. Which I did in the 44 degree 'spring-like' weather. Being alone downtown on Friday night was the unwise part. Not from a safety point of view, but just from an emotional one. I realized this pretty quickly, and tried to catch the 'every 10 minute' bus, and once again, had to wait for almost an hour.

However, the people-watching was outstanding at the bus stop. Every girl looked ridiculous. Most teetered on stilletos 4-8" tall, on cobblestones (this is nothing against heels, because I love a pair of beautiful shoes -- but these were just tall to be tall...not beautiful). Most were wearing short dresses (and by the word 'short' I mean, almost covering their butts, but not quite) without sleeves. In 44 degrees. It was then that I realized how very tired I was that young women feel the need to look like street-walkers in order to be seen as attractive. Hopefully the tipping point is being reached, and the pendulum can swing back to something more reasonable. Anyway, I made it back home finally, and tried to get over the feelings of isolation that I was struggling with.

Today, we walked back down to Ecclesall Road and caught the #272 to Castleton. It's in the heart of the Peak District, and was a lovely ride. Once in Castleton, I regretted that I had not packed a parka, scarf, hat, gloves, smartwool socks, and thermal underwear. The rain wasn't too bad, but the wind was driving, and it was cold. But if you walk long enough, you stop noticing how cold you are. And so we walked and walked and walked some more. The English love walking, and there are footpaths to everywhere. We walked up to Peveril Castle, overlooking town, and we walked to the caves outside of town. And then we walked underground. And then we walked back to town, rode the bus, and walked home from Ecc. Rd., yet again.

I was going to go to a Haydn concert tonight, but I am simply walked out.


Dancingirl said...

Just want you to know I'm reading along. I remember being cold most of the time in England and we were there when it was warm! Guess I have Southern bones. I appreciate your candor in these blogs. Feel like I'm living it a bit with you. How long will you be there?

my15minutes said...

Hey Becky. Thanks. I'll be here until early June.

LauraLiz said...

Wow; the time is going fast! It sounds like you *are* taking advantage of all there is to offer. Isolation, even in a crowd. Especially in a crowd. Understood. Thanks so much for posting; I love feeling a wee part of the trip!

julieunplugged said...

This is such a great entry. I felt exhausted by the end of it! Hope you can stay warm. 44 degrees is really cold for walking.

Glad you are taking advantage of everything and your program friends seem nice.

Colleen said...

Well, this Anglophile would just like to say that I'm not the slightest bit envious of your adventures. Not a smidgen. Not a whit.


I'm lying. But you knew that, right?

: )

my15minutes said...

Thanks, Colleen! Great to see's been forever.